Cramlington school memorial to mark fund-raising pupil’s special birthday


A school memorial to a much-loved former pupil has been unveiled on the day she would have been celebrating her 21st birthday.

Jessica Robson died when she was 18 after a brave fight against an extremely rare form of cancer. During her illness she started a charity to support other young people with the disease. Jessica’s Sarcoma Awareness – driven on by her family – has now raised £160,000.

The charity has received special support from her former school, Cramlington Learning Village, and – in front of her family, friends, teachers and current students – a permanent tribute to her was revealed there.

Her father Trevor Robson told them: “Although it’s a tough time for us, Jess wouldn’t have wanted anybody to be unhappy today. She loved birthdays and Christmas.”

The horseshoe-shape of the bench meant nobody was left out, he said, and that would have been very important to his daughter. It reflected her love of horses as well. She had taken up horse-riding when a tumour in her leg prevented her taking part in sport.

The memorial also acknowledged Jessica’s love of art with 13 specially-designed mosaic tiles – created by the school’s Year 9 Art Club – helping to tell her story. The bench was positioned, said Mr Robson, so her favourite teacher Dave Paterson could keep an eye on it from his office. Materials and production were provided free by local businesses

Alongside Jessica’s mother, Julie, Mr Paterson came up with the idea for the memorial. He has led the school’s fund-raising activities which have now raised £10,000 for Jessica’s Sarcoma Awareness.
“I think it’s a fantastic reflection on the students here that they do so much for Jess’ charity although they never knew her,” he said.

Twenty members of the Art Club, under the guidance of the head of art Louise Clazey, worked on the tiles. One of them, Katie Wright, said: “I thought it was a really lovely thing to do. We were told about Jess and what her favourite things were and that helped inspire us.”

Julie Robson had not seen the finished memorial before she helped unveil it. “It’s much better than I designed. She would be looking down and thinking this is absolutely incredible. It’s next to the library where she loved to read her books. It’s beautiful.”


During her illness, Jessica and her family were able to spend valuable time together – away from hospitals – in a caravan on the Northumberland coast. That experience inspired an ambition by the Robsons to build a lodge to be used for respite breaks for other families with ill children. That dream has come a step nearer this month with the start of the planning process for a site near Haydon Bridge. The family hope the lodge could be built later this year.

Also present at the ceremony was Jessica’s dog Molly. She had been bought to encourage her to go for walks. In a tragic coincidence during Jessica’s lifetime, Molly – now six-years-old – had to have a leg amputated after being affected by cancer.